Was I victimized by some sort of credit card skimmer?

Here’s the details. I used my Apple Card to do some grocery shopping about 47 minutes ago, as documented on my wallet app. I went straight home from the supermarket. I have two transactions, both for $100, listed as taking place 33 minutes ago and 28 minutes ago. What’s really strange is that it lists the name of the business where these supposed transactions occurred, and even the location on Apple Maps. The business in question for the fraudulent charges is a gas station. This gas station just so happens to be on the route I took on my way home. And it’s likely that the time I would have been passing by would have been around 15 minutes or so after I made my purchase at the grocery store.

I called the Apple Card people up to dispute the charge. The person I spoke with said the charge in question would have had to use the physical card. I know that’s not possible, as I still have the card in my possession, and I’m looking at it as I compose this post. Apple Cards don’t have a number on the physical card, so I don’t think it could have been someone writing down the number while paying at a restaurant or something of that sort. The only thing I can think of is that someone was using some sort of skimmer. Is this even possible though? They would have had to scan the card from several yards from the parking lot at the gas station through one lane of traffic and though the car door. Do you all have any other ideas on what may have happened?

All I know is that typically a credit card scammer uses the card the first time at a gas station. My sister was told this when her card was used many years ago. So that fits. But I have no idea how it was accomplished.

I’m not sure either. I didn’t stop at that gas station, but was stopped at a red light for about 2 minutes right next to the gas station. I just find it bizarre that the charges would have happened at the exact time I was passing by. I suppose someone could have done something nefarious earlier, and that it was a coincidence that they used a duplicate (can they do that?) card they had made earlier at the exact moment that I was passing by that particular gas station. That would be a pretty large coincidence.

Is it one of those cards with a chip in it? An RFID chip can be read from a distance of a handful of meters without issue. It’s literally a radio signal rebroadcaster, though the range is fairly short.

Here’s a link to a unit that claims it can read up to 15 meters away.

Here is a link to “writeable cards”.

This part is a bit handwavey. I don’t know how reliable those links are, but let’s presume they’re true.

I would simply wire my reader to my laptop and park myself somewhere where traffic must go by, but close enough and slowly enough to get a good read. A parking lot is ideal for this. I would have some software that simply reads and dumps info into a simple file for later use.

Later, I might program my cards and then go to a gas station and give it a try. RFID-based payment is capped at $100 or less, so this seems ideal, and the gas station attendants are usually too harried to look closely at my generic-looking card.

Again, I want to stress this is purely theoretical, I’ve not tried it and have no intention of doing so. But a paper from “researchgate.net” claims to have instructions on how to build one.

I’ve never used an Apple Card, so this is more of a question than an answer.

I assume you insert it into a chip reader, rather than swipe it. Do you have to enter a PIN?

Why did Apple say you had to use the physical card there? Perhaps you could (leaving your card at home) check out that gas station and find out if they accept Apple Pay.

It uses a chip. No PIN. The card uses a system where the last 4 digits are different when you use the physical card.

Are you saying they’re denying there was fraud, and that you must have made the transaction?

I believe that’s what she was implying. She did still mark the charge as disputed.

It may be that they have to code the report differently if the physical card was stolen vs. the card number being used vs. the merchant did not deliver services as promised, etc., etc.

I’m still trying to figure out what you buy at a gas station for exactly $100.00. Twice.

My guess is a gift card denominated at $100.

IME, some gas stations will authorize up to $100 when you use your debit card at the pump. You do get the difference back, but it can take up to 72 hours. (Used to work in a call center that serviced prepaid debit cards. Inquiries about gas holds were not an unusual call, since people apparently do not read info that comes with their cards.)

I had a local knitting + sewing firm make me a wallet with a lining that blocks RFID signals.
I keep my credit and bank cards in it.